Tag Archives: Back to School

Cutting the Back to School Cost with Poundland

I recently read a shocking news article that claims the average cost of sending a 4-16 year old back to school each September is costing on average of £186.  That’s almost £200 on uniform, shoes, sports kit, lunch bags and stationary.  WOW!  Obviously I try and do what I can to keep these costs down as much as I can.  Using discount supermarkets for the uniform basics has saved a lot as has our local Poundland which was our one stop shop for all of the kiddywinks stationery this year.

Back to School with Poundland

As ever, Poundland has a great range suitable for everyone from primary school pupils right up to university students.  There are some lovely co-ordinating ranges which include the brightly coloured Neon, Craft and Nu as well as some favourite characters such as Spiderman, The Lion Guard, The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory.  Imogen loves the Neon range with its’ brightly coloured lipstick highlighters, lego shaped erasers and highly addictive maze pens.

Back to School with Poundland

We also found some great value branded stationery items on our recent trip to Poundland as well which included a 4 pack of Papermate Inkjoy ball pens which come in 4 different variations Black, Blue, Office or Fashion.  I use these for work and they usually cost me £3 for 8, so these were a great find.  Another bargain we found was the Helix Value Maths Set which contains a compass, 2 set squares, protractor, ruler, eraser, pencil and sharpener all for £1.  The cheapest I can find this elsewhere is double the price!

Back to School with Poundland

As every parent knows planning is a massive part of the academic year and diaries and wall planners play a massive part in making sure I don’t forget which friend I’m picking up from school, who has after school clubs and the next wretched cake sale!  Poundland have a great selection of these as well from pocket sized to A4, ones you can hang on the wall and weekly planners that you can stick on your fridge.  I love this photo calendar that I’m going to fill with pictures of the children and hang in the hall and this mint green diary that will live in my overstuffed handbag.

Back to School with Poundland Back to School with Poundland Poundland also have a great range of backpacks, lunchbags and drinks bottles featuring Avengers, Disney Princesses, Shopkins and Paw Patrol starting from as little as £2.  Cracking value and definitely worth checking out.  You can find your nearest Poundland here or you can now browse from the comfort of your own sofa at www.poundland.co.uk

Back to School with Great Gizmos NICI Range

With only a few weeks of the school year left it won’t be long until we start thinking about the dreaded back to school preparations.  With Imogen starting the juniors and Joseph beginning full time school in reception they’ll both be keen to make a good first impression with their teachers and classmates alike.  They were recently sent some awesome goodies from Great Gizmos NICI range so they could do just that!

Their little bundle included a Timmy Time backpack, a tin of coloured pencils, wild friends scissors and pouch roll pencil case.

Great Gizmos NICI Range

Having recently watched the new Shaun the Sheep movie, Joseph was very quick to claim the Timmy Time backpack as his own!  It’s cute and cuddly with adjustable straps and a magnetic closure under Timmy’s head to keep the back pack closed.  It’s the perfect size for the things he needs for nursery and it’s been filled with cars, drinks and snacks on days out too.

Timmy Time Backpack

Imogen was just as eager to get first dibs on the plush pencil case which features a great jungle theme with a gorilla, turtle and colourful parrot.  It has a large compartment with a full length zip and unwraps to reveal 13 elasticated straps the perfect size for pens and pencils that you’ll need easy access to.

Great Gizmos NICI Range  Great Gizmos NICI Range

Both Imogen and Joseph have had a lot of enjoyment from the kangaroo coloured pencil tin as they’re no ordinary coloured pencils!  The 12 pencils are cleverly double ended and therefore contain 24 colours.

Nici Kangaroo Coloured Pencil Set This pleased the budding artists no end and they’re apparently really good for colouring and have just the right colours for everything!

Great Gizmos NICI Range

I’m really impressed with the quality of the range and the kiddywinks love the cute animal designs.  Yes, some of them are a little more pricey than I would personally choose to pay, the pencil case for example is £14.99, but if it lasts a whole school year then it has to be worth paying a little more for.

There is a huge range of NICI stationary available on the Great Gizmos website with prices starting from 75p as well as a tempting 3 for 2 offer and Imogen has requested we complete the Wild Friends collection before September.

Joseph takes on the Andrex Clean Challenge

With Joseph starting pre-school tomorrow, during the Summer holidays we’ve been busy preparing him for this very moment.  He’s learning to get himself dressed and practicing having lunch from his lunchbox and generally trying to be a little more independent.

There are loads of things that I’ve worried about as I get ready to send him off to nursery.  Will he be encouraged to eat the fruit in packed lunch?  Will he share nicely with the other children?  Will he wash his hands after using the toilet?  Will he be able to wipe his own bottom?  With the answer to the last two questions definitely being no I jumped at the chance to take part in the Andrex Clean Challenge.

Andrex Clean Routine

It appears that I was not alone in my fears with research from Andrew showing that 63% of parents don’t feel that their children are ready to clean themselves properly without adult supervision when they first go to school.  40% admit to still wiping their children’s bottoms well past their first year at primary school and sometimes up to the age of 7!  With just one gram of poo potentially containing 10,000,000 viruses and 10,000,000 I turned out bathroom into a toilet training bootcamp with the help of goodies from Andres getting Joseph ready for that all important first day at nursery.

For the past week Joseph has been taking the Andrex Clean Challenge, carefully studying the laminated guide stuck on the back of our bathroom door before going through through the five steps of the Andrex Clean Routine and rewarding himself with a start on his chart for each of the steps he’s done.

Andrex Clean Challenge

He’s responded really well to the challenge and I now feel very confident in packing him off knowing full well that he’ll be able to manage the toilet, clean himself properly and wash his hands all by himself.  The reward chart has been a massive help as has the guide which will remain in place in our bathroom as a gentle reminder to everyone.

More information about the Andrex Clean Routine can be found in the Andrex Clean Report here.

They told me time flies…

As I cradled newborn Imogen in my arms, they told me.   I didn’t quite believe them, after all she was so small, so helpless.  “Enjoy her whilst she’s young, time flies” they said and by jove hasn’t it? Before I knew it she was a big sister to Joseph and starting pre-school. Imogen Tomorrow is Joseph’s first day in pre-school and his turn to start the long and exciting journey into education and for some reason I am finding it a lot harder to “let go” of my youngest, my baby boy. Baby Joseph In three years, nine months and 4 days Joseph has grown into a loving, independent, determined little boy with a love of cars, Octonauts, biscuits and of course, his big sister! Joseph Another thing Joseph loves is cuddles, and although at sometimes it can be a little tiring having a toddler chasing you around the house screaming “Hug, hug, hug!” It is one thing I’ll never, ever deny my kids.  So as well as embracing the moment of proper squeezy hugs, I’ve ironed, washed dishes as well as attempting to get dressed and put make up on all one handed with a little boy on my hip clinging on for a cuddle. Joseph & Imogen Fairy are encouraging Mums to embrace every moment whilst you can with their #PowerofSoft campaign, after all time flies and soon, like me, you’ll be packing them off for their first day of school.  I know that whilst your knee deep in nappies and spend most of the day with sick on your shoulder it seems a long long way away but believe me it really isn’t.

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Back to School Review Round Up

With less than two weeks until the kiddywinks head back to school are you prepared?  I’ve put together some of my best Back to School finds that should ease the last minute rush just a little.

Imogen and Joseph were each sent a rucksack from LamaLoLi.com, a website choc-a-bloc with branded and fully licensed clothing and accessories for the whole family, Imogen chose Disney Princess and Joseph Disney Planes.

LamaLoLi Rucksacks

Both of their chosen rucksacks have a 3D print effect on the front with Joseph’s featuring Dusty, Rochelle and Ripslinger and Imogen’s with Rapunzel and her Palace Pets horse Blondie.  From a practical point of view they have a grab handle and thick, padded straps to make even the heaviest load comfortable to carry.  At 28 x 23 x 10 cm they are the perfect size for lunch boxes leaving room for a waterproof too.

LamaLoLi Rucksack

There’s a great selection of bags of every style as well as pencil cases and some lovely stylish coats perfect for the Autumn and they can all be found on www.lamaloli.com

I was recently introduced to Smash’s Nude Food Movers on a trip to Sainsbury’s where I managed to bag a bargain with these Triple Snack Tubes at just 67p each!  I was amazed at the quality and genius design which are ideal for break time snacks as well as providing a solution to Imogen’s hummus problem.  Now she carries hummus in one, carrot and cucumber sticks in another and mini breadsticks in the third!

Nude Food Movers Triple Snack Pots

Being so impressed with the quality and design, I chose the Mini Rubbish Free Lunch Box for Joseph’s nursery lunch box.  It features two separate compartments, a sandwich “seatbelt” and two removable, leak proof pods.  We’ve been practising eating lunch from it this week and mightily impressed!

Nude Food Movers Mini Rubbish Free Lunch BoxNude Food Movers Mini Rubbish Free Lunch Box

You can see the entire Nude Food Movers online here www.nudefoodmovers.com.au/ and they are available in the bigger UK supermarkets.

Imogen is a lot like me and has always been obsessed with stationery, this year she has chosen the Butterfly range from Sainsbury’s to start the new school year with.  The matching range is huge and includes everything from calculators to notebooks.  Most of the Back to School stationery now has up to 70% off so make sure you check it out.

Butterfly metal tube pencil set alt £3.99Butterfly multi pocket pencil case

We’re also hoping to find stock of the obviously hugely popular pink satchel at Sainsbury’s before September because apparently the school’s green book bag simply just isn’t cool enough for school!

Pink Satchel

If you’re still on the hunt for school uniform then don’t forget to check out the TU range at Sainsbury’s and do it before 25th August as there’s is 25% ALL TU clothing and that’s a massive saving.  The full range of Sainsbury’s Back to School can be seen at www.sainsburys.co.uk/backtoschool

Back to School with Blacks

As well as the start of the new school year September also means the start of Autumn and that usually brings a downturn in the weather.  School runs become cold, wet and blustery and far less enjoyable.  Luckily Imogen will be prepared this year thanks to Blacks, the outdoor specialists, who sent her through a selection of goodies for the new school year.

Back to School with Blacks

Included in her package were a pair of Peter Storm Wellies, an Osprey Koby Daysack and a Peter Storm 3 in 1 Jacket. Imogen fell instantly in love with the wellies which are mainly purple with a pink trim and spots which apparently makes them very Disney Frozen and pleased her no end.  They have a nice tread on the outer sole to prevent from slipping and will be perfect for puddle jumping on the way home from school.

The Osprey Koby Daysack is just the right size for her and with it’s multitude of pockets, both inner and outer, it will be ideal for carrying her books and lunch to school.  It’s also waterproof with comfortable, padded straps and will be very handy for field trips where she has to be prepared for eventuality and that means a heavy bag!

Back to School with BlacksBack to School with Blacks

Lastly, the Peter Storm 3 in 1 Jacket has to be my favourite, currently on sale at just £25, it is every coat that your child will need for every season.  The jacket has a warm inner fleece with pockets that can either be worn by itself or zipped inside the waterproot outer shell.  The shell has a hood, which can be zipped away when not in use and can, of course, be used without the fleece.  It’s a great versatile jacket and worth every penny which is why I’ve already brought Joseph a blue one!

Back to School with BlacksBack to School with Blacks

To make sure your little one is prepared for all weathers this school year head over to www.blacks.co.uk.

Back “Tu” School with Sainsbury’s

Boys White 3pk Short Sleeved Shirt

Tu at Sainsbury’s are committed to making Back to School season easier for everyone.  They’re well aware that most school uniform is worn for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week and for 39 weeks of the year, so they’ve created durable, high quality uniform at incredible prices available in sizes 2-16 years.

To prove their durability they’ve put them to the test ensuring garments will withstand the daily wear and tear of school life. All have been wash tested making sure that colours stay true and bright and the cotton rich fabrics ensure that they keep their shape up to 100 washes.  Trousers, skirts and pinafores have been rub-tested up to 100,000 times to withstand hours of playground antics.  Tu’s Advanced Technology Cardigan also uses a special cotton rich blend knitwear, meaning reduced bobbling and shrinkage.

Unisex red sweater 2pack Unisex Sweatshirts from £4.00 for a two pack

Boys’ trousers are finished with a resin on the centrefold and pleats on woven skirts and pinafores are heat set to ensure creases look sharp after washing and wearing.  Packed shirts, including the new Bionic Shirt are all also non iron, which certainly will shrink my Sunday night ironing pile by at least half!

Boys Black 2 pack trousers  Boys Trousers from £6.00 for two pairs.

The new Bionic Shirts and Polo Shirts are made from 100% cotton making them breathable but they are also water and stain repellent, perfect for Joe’s start at nursery this year.  Talking of Joe’s start in nursery, the Tu range starts at age 2 which really has saved me a huge headache.  Although Joe is 3 and a half, he’s a little on the dinky side and wears size 2-3 or in some brands 18-24 months!  Sainsbury’s Back to School range also features button and zip free trousers and increased zip length on pinafores, making it easier for children to dress and undress themselves, saving precious time trying to get children out of the door in the morning rush.

Boys White 3pk Short Sleeved ShirtGirls Cap Sleeve Blouse Sainsbury's Pink Satchel -ú19.99Sainsbury's Pink Satchel -ú19.99

In the past I’ve bought all of Imogen’s school uniform from Sainsbury’s and I’ve never been disappointed. It’s a major purchase and is worn considerably more than any other item of clothing, even after numerous wears and washes there’s no bobbling or a single button or hem is out of place. School uniform that gets grown out of rather than worn out saves me a fortune and makes me one happy mum!

Back to School 2013

Back to School September 2013

The Tu Back to School range is available in over 500 stores nationwide now in sizes ranging from age 2 to 16 years. Packs of two uniforms start from as little as £13.50 and include a 2-pack of sweatshirts (from £4), a 2-pack of skirts/trousers (from £6) and a 3-pack of polo shirts (from £3.50). Sainsbury’s also have a huge range of Back to School stationery, lunch boxes and school bags that will suit every taste. Top of Imogen’s Back to School list is this Pink Satchel that she eyes up every time on the weekly shop!

Pink Satchel

To view the full Back to School range from Sainsburys as well as some pretty awesome packed lunches ideas check out www.sainsburys.co.uk/BackToSchool

Britains Cheapest School Uniform at Aldi

Starting tomorrow (Thursday 24th July) Aldi’s amazing priced £4 school uniform is back.  Yes, that’s right just £4 will get you a two pack of polo shirts (£1.25), a sweater (£1.25) and either a pair of trousers or a skirt (£1.50), but are they any good?  Aldi sent Imogen a full get up ready for September so we could test it for ourselves. Aldi School Uniform Her bundle included two girl’s polo shirts in white (also available in blue), a pinafore dress (£2.99), a sweater and a pleated skirt. The polo shirts are, surprisingly, 100% cotton and have a lovely, girly scalloped collar.  I have to admit that for just over 60p each I did expect to see my hand through them but they’re a nice thick, good quality fabric. Aldi School Uniform Both the skirt and pinafore (£2.99) are available in navy, grey or black, have permanent pleats, can machine washed and tumble dried and are Teflon coated to repel stains.  The skirt also has an adjustable waist band.  Again both are of fabulous quality and well made without a stitch out of place. Aldi School Uniform The sweater is available in red or blue and 100% cotton and lovely and soft with a fleecy inside, perfect for chilly mornings. Aldi School Uniform The one thing that impressed me the most were the scuff resistant shoes priced at only £6.99.  These include a space for the wearers name and class, easy Velcro fastenings and pretty embroidered detailing.  Whilst they aren’t leather, you can’t expect that at £6.99 a pair, they are polyurethane coated to protect from playground scuffs!

Aldi School Uniform
Whilst none of this uniform has been washed or worn for any great period of time, I simply can’t see any of it falling apart.  The quality for the price is amazing and definitely worth checking out.  When it’s gone it’s gone though so make sure you don’t leave it too late!

Back to School ~ Matalan School Uniform Review

Yes, I know the kids haven’t even finished for the Summer yet but having tried to purchase plimsolls in the last few days of August one year I do try and be as organised as possible for September.  Usually most of my back to school shopping is done and dusted before August meaning that the rest of the Summer is ours to enjoy. Back to School In September Imogen will start her year last year as an infant in year 2 and Joseph will start at the school’s pre school 3 days a week.  Having spent time with their new teachers and in their new classrooms both are very excited and looking forward to what the new school year brings. Matalan recently gave us the chance to test out their school uniform and whilst I buy a lot of the kids clothes from there (Imogen is very partial to their applique t-shirts) I’ve never bought any school uniform there, so I was intrigued to see if the quality and value for money matched our usual uniform haunt.  I was sent a great selection of uniform for Imogen including short sleeve blouses, a pinafore, pleated skirt, a gingham summer dress, socks and shoes. Matalan School Uniform Imogen was rather taken by the Summer dress which is described as a “Flippy Gingham Dress” (£7.00), it has some lovely girly details like puff sleeves, a bow detail at the waist and a wonderfully full skirt, perfect for twirling! Matalan School Uniform For the start in September Imogen can create two different looks with the skirt and pinafore, both equally as smart.

Matalan School UniformMatalan school Uniform

Both are Teflon coated, to repel stains, and the box pleat skirt (£4.00) has an incredibly adjustable waist, ideal for Imogen as she’s tall and skinny.  The pinafore is double breasted with an empire waist and button detail.  They look great with the short sleeved blouses (£6-£8 for two) which, again, have some lovely details such as flower shaped buttons, scalloped collar and flower embroidery on the pocket.  These are 65% and 35% cotton designed to keep your child cool and also minimise ironing, that has to be good! Joseph was sent a three pack of polo shirts and a pair of trousers ready for his start in pre school. Matalan School Unifaorm The polo shirts are great value for money at just £4 for three!  They’re 100% cotton and really soft and a great fit on Joe.  Joe’s trousers (£5-£7) are pull on, so there are no zips or buttons to contend with, which will be really helpful when getting dressed and undressed for PE and taking himself to the toilet.  They are also Telfon coated and have an adjustable waist.  I got dinky three and a half year old Joe the smallest size available, age 3, and whilst they’re a little long at the moment I’m sure by September they’ll be a great fit. Matalan School Uniform Whilst I haven’t repeatidly washed the kiddywinks uniforms, every item has been through the wash at least once and pleats have stayed in place, nothing has shrunk and it all needs minimal ironing.  The quality is good with hard wearing fabric and some great little details.  Price wise Matalan is slightly cheaper than the supermarket we usually buy our school uniform from and with them stocking everything from lunch boxes to shoes and underwear Matalan really will be our one stop back to school shop this year!  The full Back to School range is available in store on online and can be viewed here www.matalan.co.uk/back-to-school


Floppets ~ Go “Wear” You Go

If your choice of Back to School shoes were Start Rite this year then you’ll know all about Floopets, as a free Floppet was given with every purchase from their school range.  I’ve already seen lots on shoes and bags in school playground.  If you have no idea what I’m on about then here’s a little bit more about them.


Floppets took the US by storm and are now making waves here in the UK too!  They are cute collectable toys with a difference as they also allow children to personalise their belongings thanks to their clever Velcro loop.  There are different series in the range which include Petlets, Charmlets, Flopseas and Munchkin Monsters who all live in the magical island of Floptopia where they have their own name, habitat and treasure.

Imogen was sent a selection of Floppets to help prepare for Back to School, they included Armour who lives in the Petlet ranch with his hard shell keeping him save from the Munchkin Monsters and a cupcake and dragonfly from the Charmlets series.  She decided quickly that she would use them to keep her school satchel and lunch bag safe and wrapped then around their straps.


Soon after though, she discovered that pretty much anything could have a Floppet attached and skipped around the house attaching them to her flip flops, pencils, pencil case, Barbie’s hair and even herself!

FloppetsPriced at £1.99, they’re great little pocket money toys that Imogen is now very eager to collect.  They’re a great Back to School accessory as well making lunch bags and book bags, which ALL look the same, easily recognisable.  To view the full collection and for your nearest stockists check out www.floppets.uk.com.

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